The “You Will Be Found” College Essay Writing Challenge
Inspired by the Tony® and Grammy® Award-winning Dear Evan Hansen

Recognizing excellence in storytelling.


The winning student will receive a $1,500 scholarship to the college of choice sponsored by

Stacey Mindich, Producer


Any 11th or 12th grade high school student located in Brooklyn, the Bronx, Manhattan, Queens, Staten Island, as well as Westchester, Nassau, Orange, Rockland, or Suffolk counties during the 2019-2020 academic year.


Dear Evan Hansen is the deeply personal and profoundly contemporary Broadway phenomenon. Evan Hansen is about to get the one thing he’s always wanted: a chance to finally fit in. To learn more about Dear Evan Hansen, please visit

Read and listen to the lyrics from the show’s breakout song, the Act One-closing anthem, “You Will Be Found” written by composers Benj Pasek and Justin Paul; watch the virtual choir video created by Dear Evan Hansen and performed by its fans HERE.

Write a college-application style essay (no longer than 650-words) that describes how “You Will Be Found” resonates with and inspires you. Did it prompt you to challenge your thinking or actions in some way? Was it a catalyst for personal growth? Explain the song’s significance to you and its impact on your life.

Essays should be specific, have a clear narrative arc, and adhere to the theme of the challenge.


Visit Gotham Writers’ official contest page by following this link to enroll in the “You Will be Found” College Essay Writing Challenge.



Entries must be received no later than 11:59 p.m., Eastern Time, Monday, April 20, 2020.


Entries will be read and evaluated by a judging panel comprised of college-essay coaching, creative writing, and Broadway professionals.

This year’s judges include:

Mike Faist, original Dear Evan Hansen cast member

Andrew Barth Feldman, former Roger Rees Award winner and current Evan on Broadway

Farrin Jacobs, Editor, Little Brown Books for Young Readers

Peter Marks, Theater critic, Washington Post

Josh Meredith, Born This Way Foundation

Susanna Schrobsdorff, Chief Strategic Partnerships Editor, TIME Magazine


The judges will evaluate entries for originality, quality of the writing, narrative, clarity, grammar, and spelling.


The winning student will be notified no later than Tuesday, May 5 and receive the award at The Roger Rees Awards on Sunday, May 17. The prize package includes:

  • $1,500 cash scholarship to the college or educational institution of choice
  • Scholarship to Gotham Writers Creative Writing class (value from $309 to $350)
  • (4) tickets to see Dear Evan Hansen.
  • Recognition of the winner on Dear Evan Hansen social channels


The Broadway Education Alliance and Gotham Writers are presenting the “You Will Be Found” Challenge to recognize excellence in storytelling and promote student engagement with Broadway. The Challenge will also be presented in 2020 and 2021, with the goal of making it an annual scholarship.


If you have any questions, please contact Katie Wingler,